People leave

People leave whether you want them too or not.  They leave because of a tragic event in your life but it can also be that they leave because it is their time to be out of your life.

Why am I talking about this today?  The other day someone asked me what my biggest fear was.  If you would have asked me that same question about 3 years ago  my answer would have been dying.  My answer today is that I fear people running away from me…leaving me.

I have an autopsy and a doctor description as to why Jay left our world.  There are many people within my life where I have no reason as to why they left.  Just one day they were gone.

I also have amazing stories how said people stayed with me through some tough times and when I remember those things it makes their disappearance a little less difficult.  They served their purpose and then they moved on.  To think they left because of me is pretty grandiose.  My therapist said to me once.  “Alyssa…don’t always assume people are thinking/talking about you.  That is pretty grandiose to think that.”  And as much as it is difficult to hear that, he was absolutely right.

People leave because it is their time.  Some leave big footprints in our lives that go on and on and others are not so big and are short lived.  Both can make quite an impact in your life and it is important to recognize them and their impact.  It is important to recognize this because ultimately…people leave.

the new me

The fog has lifted. 

I have a hop in my step.

And for the first time in the last year and a half I feel like I am awake and enjoying life.  This doesn’t mean that things are perfect because for things to be perfect is unrealistic. 

I am still going to cry.  Aaron is still going to be difficult at times.  And all of that is OK, that is life.

I no longer feel like a lost widow/single mom…I finally feel like Alyssa Taber.  In the last few weeks many people close to me have seen a change.  There are a few things that happened causing me to have this rush of energy and I am thankful for them.  Events don’t last and so with things that have happened I have to have realizations.  Some of these realizations were about the house; others are about things in the house and of course as always there were a few about my life as I exist without Jay by my side. 

I had lunch with a friend of mine a week or so ago, this person will laugh when they read this, but I was really different than what they are used to.  It was a great lunch.  I felt like I could hold a thought.  I listened to things going on in their life.  I smiled and joked…I could really laugh.  It felt amazing.  I emailed them after I got back to work and said, “Are you wondering if you really had lunch with me?”  Their response was “It was different, I’m not used to that but it was great to see you happy.”

It is my belief that people come in and out of our lives for a reason.  I would say this prior to May 9th, 2012 but now I believe it to be true because through this journey people have come…and people have gone.  This is not good or bad…t is life…it happens.  It will continue to happen so the faster I accept it, and I have, the better. 

The old me is part of history and I stand in front of you…the new me.

The basement

The basement in the house was from the beginning a “Jay Zone.”  Infact when we bought the house the deal was I could have the whole house to decorate except for his office and the basement.  You may laugh but that was the deal and because that gave me about 80% of the house I kept my promise and let him do whatever he wanted in these two places. For his office he bought the desk he wanted and in his defense it isn’t a bad desk but it is and always will be his desk.  And today it is in my office.  He even picked out the paint for the room.  For someone who always told me I went to neutral on colors the green color he picked was pretty neutral.  I didn’t say anything though because it was his room.  Because it was his room is also the reason I did not open those doors for a good 6 months after he died.  It wasn’t until I started thinking about renovating the first floor and put new carpet on the second floor that I realized that was no longer an option and that I had to do some serious organizing and cleaning up.

The other day I was showing someone the basement and as I looked around all I saw was Jay.  This is good and bad.  It is good because I kept my promise, he could do whatever he wanted down there.  He painted it Green Bay green and gold.  He has a large TV down there too.  The TV cost (for ONE TV) as much as it did for me to customize my dining room set (a table AND 6 chairs) and purchase the family room furniture (a couch, ottoman, and two chairs).  BUT I didn’t say anything.  He let me do whatever I wanted with the furniture upstairs.  He did tell me after I bought it that it was really nice and he was excited with what I had selected.  I’m not sure I ever told him that about the TV.  And honesty I don’t mind the TV.

So on to the bad.  I NEVER go down to the basement anymore to hang out.  When I say never I mean never.  It has become a dumping ground.  And when I went downstairs the other day it hit me as to why I don’t go down there.  It is full of Jay memories and Jay’s things.  Fortunately there is somewhat of an easy fix for this.  I make it my own.  New paint…new set up…donate a few pieces of furniture…organize and put away some stuff and ta-da!  Doing this allows my mind to go somewhere else in moving forward, but that topic is for another blog.  This fix seems so easy but honestly, the hardest part is figuring out how to spend more than 5 minutes down there without feeling the urge to run back upstairs.  I hate the basement.

It’s not always that easy

The last two nights I have had a wonderful opportunity to speak to a driver’s education class about organ donation. 

Speaking to these groups is therapy.  It has given me an outlet to continue Jay’s legacy of helping people.  I have worked through a lot of my grief being able to talk about the day he died as well as the impact his decision has had on my life.  To give whatever he could to anyone in need.  He didn’t say “I want to be an organ donor for just young people” or “I want to be an organ donor just for people of this belief.”  He said I want to be an organ donor for whoever needs whatever I can give.  That is truly amazing.  His heart was of gold and I only wish I felt deserving of him during his life.  He taught me so much in life and death and I will be forever grateful. 

So the first night of speaking was easy.  I didn’t have Aaron with me and I just did my thing.  I spoke from my heart and tried to explain to these young people in front of me that life is yours to give to others.  The second night, which was last night, was a little different.  My babysitter was at the house that night and instead of her just staying with Aaron I asked her to come with me and bring him.  Part of me wanted someone in my life to have actually heard me speak so they knew I actually did it.  HA!  The other part was I wanted those two to go with me out shopping afterwards.  Turns out having Aaron there as well as my babysitter took me down a bit.  I still spoke from the heart and tried to help them understand the awesomeness of the gift they could give.  But as I looked into the crowd I saw these kids who for the most part would be able to go home that night to their dad and tell them what they learned from the class that night.  As I then looked back at Aaron and he waved at me in true Aaron form it hit me like a ton of bricks that he doesn’t have that luxury. 

After I was done speaking and said good-bye to the nice people at the class, we were on our way to shop for a bit.  We grabbed dinner on the way home from shopping and then I was able to take a quick shower before the babysitter left.  As I stood in the shower I started to cry.  It wasn’t a break down cry and unlike before dealing with the PTSD from May 9th, 2012 I would have stayed in the shower longer just to get it all out because I was consumed by it.  This was short lived but it happened.  Afterwards I got ready for bed, sent the babysitter on her way and Aaron and I jumped into our beds and went to sleep.  I woke up today a little tired (because I was checking on Aaron a lot) but appreciating that I woke up to a new day.  It’s not always that easy.

The weekend

What a weekend!!

Friday was crammed with work and then prep for Aaron’s party on Saturday.  I think I may have missed my calling for party planning….just sayin.

On Saturday Aaron was up by 4:30 but we didn’t get out of bed until 6:00.  The display cake, cupcakes and cookies got to the house at 6:30.  Between 6:30-10:30 is kind of a blur.  How do I know 10:30?  That is when my family and a very close friend of mine would be at the house to help with final prep.  How much Elmo can one person have in their house?  Let me tell you.  Elmo balloons, pinata, cookies, cupcakes, a life like display cake, paper lanterns, paper plates, napkins, paper cups and one of the more interesting pieces of the day a fruit and veggie tray in an Elmo cake pan with the fruits/veggies to coordinate and make it look like Elmo.  Oh and I made Elmo on red paper bags as party favors.  When I have told people Elmo threw up in the house, I wasn’t joking.

By 2:30 on Saturday everyone had left from the party and my family and I crashed.  Everyone in the house was asleep.  I don’t usually like quiet in the house but in this moment it was OK with me. 🙂  Saturday night I went to a friends birthday party and then I got to visit with my family and crash.  I love it when my family is around.  I get to have some “me” time and for any mom out there you know this is a necessity. 

Sunday my family left to go home.  I wanted to just stay in the house for the day but Aaron and I hung out for a bit then went to the pumpkin patch.  We went with a few friends of mine.  It is so much easier to do these things with people then on my own and we had tons of fun.  We got home and then it was time to sleep.  When we get outside it is so good for both Aaron and I. 

I am so blessed for my family and friends.  What a great weekend!

Let her go

 

Passenger has a song out called “Let her go”.  Recently it has been playing everywhere I go.  When this happens and I notice I try to figure out why. 

 

“You know you love her when you let her go.”  That is the lyric that is STUCK in my head.  Change the word “her” to “him” and you get…”You know you love him when you let him go.”

 

Going one step further some may think I would have let Jay go at this point…almost a year and half after his death.  To my surprise I really hadn’t.  That is until recently and so when I hear this lyric I think it is my way of knowing that I love him…always will…but I had to let him go so I can continue to live life. 

 

What else have I missed?

So today I was at a personal appointment and as I was paying I looked at a wall and told the owner that the prints on the wall were so cool.  I asked when she got them.  She looked at me wondering if I was serious and then said “Alyssa…I’ve had those for over a year.” 

It was comical but then it made me realize how much I have missed out on.  The little things in life that have gone unnoticed because I was in such a heavy fog.  This won’t surprise the parents out there but Aaron even seems in a happier then normal mood in the last week or so. 

I’m going to try and not let this get to me.  The fog is gone…and I actually am living life.  Rock on. 🙂

It’s been awhile

Sorry blog followers it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  I’ve been pre-oocupied.  I was fortunate enough *insert sarcasm here* to catch the cold thing that has been going around.  I think I kicked most of it which is good considering Aaron’s birthday is coming up.

It seriously looks like Elmo threw up in our house.  I can hear Jay saying…”Alyssa…you are going overboard…you’re crazy…”  I would look at him, roll my eyes then say “Yes…I am crazy about our son…get over it and help me!” 😉 

So I’m recovering from this cold and ramping up to have an epic birthday party for little dude and it occurs to me that this scenario is playing out in my life.  The last 2 years have been a recovery period and that just recently I have started to feel like I’m ramping up for the rest of my life. 

Some may be wondering why I say I’ve been recovering for 2 years and those who have had children know what I’m saying. 

To recap the last 2 years here is how it played out.

October 15, 2011 – Jay and I were getting super excited that it was getting close to Aaron’s due date.  I was tired but happy.  I was scared but excited.  Around this time was when we found out that it looked like I may need a c-section to deliver Aaron.  It was looking like he was pretty big and instead of risk it going through labor and him getting stuck then needing an emergency c-section we were presented the option to just do the c-section.  After the doctor left our room he looked at me and said…”Lyss..this is totally your call…I know you wanted to do a normal birth…it’s your call.”  That is one of the many things I loved about that man.  He knew when to release control.  The doctor had left for us to have the conversation and when she came back I told her to schedule it.  There was nothing more important in that moment then for our little boy to be safe no matter what I felt or had to endure. 

October 23rd, 2011 – The day BEFORE our scheduled c-section I go into labor.  Excitement…disbelief…fear were all emotions felt and then after it was all said and done we are in recovery and I see the most beautiful site to date…Jay was holding our son.  I can close my eyes still and be in that moment. 

October 26th, 2011- They let us take Aaron home.  For any new parents, you know this feeling.  “They actually think we can do this without the support of nurses and professionals???”  But we did it.  And it was the most amazingly rewarding feeling anyone can feel. 

October 27th – May 8th, 2011 – The most wonderfully challenging 6 months of my life as we figured out how to be working parents and still raise a little boy to be the wonderful man he is.  For me, recovery from being pregnant 9 months was exhausting enough emotionally and physically but I patiently waited for everything to level out.  And then…

May 9th – May 13th – The most difficult days of my life…period.

May 14th – a couple days ago – Recovery in the many forms it took.  The nights of crying myself to sleep.  The moments of extreme anger.  The acceptance of my new normal.  The constant strength I had to find to sometimes do the simplist of tasks.  It was exhausing but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I felt the reward.  It was like I let go.  I will always think about Jay and our life.  That will never go away but for the first time in 2 years the fog is gone.  I let it go. 

So it’s been awhile since I’ved blogged and it’s been awhile since many of you have seen the person that stands in front of you today.  Sorry it’s been awhile…How the heck are ya? 🙂

Grief comparison

I get these updates via facebook from a family on the east coast.  This couple had a perfectly normal little boy about a year ago and then while at daycare a tree fell on him and he is now working on recovery.  It wasn’t just a broken arm or leg.  The branch hit his head and has basically caused his body to not know how to walk or talk.  Early on the doctors told the parents they were not sure if he would make it. And if he did make it early on that he would never live to walk or talk.  Long story short he isn’t walking but he is starting to grunt and recognize things etc.  It is quite a journey to watch considering where they live in comparison to us and the fact that I do not know them other then their posts on facebook.

The other day Stacy, the boys mom, posted that as she was trying to get him to sleep she got so frustrated she had to go in and have her husband calm her down and take over for a bit.  He helped with their boy then came back to take care of her.  What she said in her post validated what I have said all this time.  She said, Why did this happen to you? Why is this our new normal?  You were such a wonderful normal boy and now you hurt all the time.  This is not fair

I paraphrase what she said but I couldn’t help but nod my head as I read it because I have thought that MANY times.  So validating what I have always said?…It doesn’t matter what you grieve, whether it is the loss of a person, house, job or in simpler terms your “normal”, a person grieves and essentially feels the same thing just in different ways.  None of those are the same type of loss but they are a loss nonetheless.  It all sucks…it is all difficult in its own way and it is never what anyone wants and so we grieve.

In reading her post I felt blessed and sad all at the same time.  I am blessed to have a little boy that is not injured like their son but I am sad because this little boy has his dad and that is something Aaron will never have.  So if I compare our grief it is not the same but they are both sad situations.  And I think if you were to ask us, she would not want my situation as I would not want hers.  Perspective.

Daddy

As Aaron starts to talk and understand more the one question I have yet to figure out how to answer is “Where’s my daddy?”  I know a day sooner rather than later he will ask me this question. He will give me his undivided attention and watch every emotion and take in every word I say so I have to do it right…the first time. 

I have been able to stand in front of groups of people and tell the story of this journey we are on with emotions in check and with an ability to find the words needed to help people understand.  I am not sure I am going to be able to do that with Aaron.  He is the most important person in my life and the one person I really need to explain this journey to.

I think talking to Aaron about it is going to be difficult because I feel it is so unfair that he has to grow up without his daddy.  Nothing in life is fair and I get that but things could and should be different.